A moment in parenthood

SavThis little monkey has been sick this week. Even the most patient Daddy was starting to lose it with her. I got up with her one morning, and within 5 minutes, I was yelling at her while she screamed and bawled on the floor. Miss CrankyPants is impossible to please when she’s sick. I guess Mrs. CrankyPants also lacks the patience to deal with it all.

Yesterday when I finally managed to put her down for a nap, I sat there looking at her sleep so peacefully. It was a drastic contrast to just minutes before this, when she was screaming and crying and kicking at my face.

As I sat, watching her sleep, I felt so emotional that she’s growing so quickly. I always feel like I haven’t savoured enough of her smallness. How is she not a little baby anymore? When did all this growing happen? How is she already registered for preschool for this fall?

For me, parenthood is so full of contradictions and conflicting emotions. One minute you’re yelling at your sick and whiney 2-year-old, and the next minute you’re crying next to her bed because she’s growing too fast? One day you wish they’d be more independent, and the next day you wish they’d never leave the house. I have never been this busy, this tired, yet this happy before.

Just another moment in being a parent.

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Day 309/365 {fair}

I’m in a few mommies discussion groups on Facebook. In one particular group, a mom posed a question today: If you have two kids, how do you ensure you are “fair” with both of them?

It sparked a lot of responses from various moms about how to be “fair”, how to make sure you give the same type of toy to each child, give the same amount of time and energy to each, etc. It reminded me how my parents always tried to be “fair”, which really meant my brother and I ended up with two of the same toys so we don’t fight.

Since I had Savanna, this is something I have been trying to grapple with. It started with the 3D ultrasound, before she was even born. When I was pregnant with Josh, I had 3D ultrasound done. I bought a $150 package, which came with a CD of the still images of Josh as a fetus. But when I was pregnant with Savanna, I really wanted the $200 package which came with a video. Should I pay the same price and get the same package so it’s “fair” for both kids? So when they’re all grown up and compare notes, Josh won’t feel like he was ripped off because he didn’t get a video from his 3D ultrasound?

It has taken me a while to come to this conclusion: being fair is over-rated.

So what if I bought the same ultrasound package for both kids, put the same amount of RESP away for them, buy the same brand and model of car seat for them, make sure they got the same snacks in the same amount, and spent the same amount of time with each of them? Yes, I’d be totally “fair”. But I would have also totally missed the point of having two children who are individuals with different needs and desires.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a super mom who can manage to be “fair”. It will always be in the back of my mind that I need to be fair, but I think the reality is that I’m human and I will love my kids differently. My relationship with Josh will always be different from my relationship with Savanna. I have decided that I’m ok with that.Angela Chang Photography Day 309 of 365

The big brother

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I get asked a lot about how Joshua has been since Savanna’s arrival.  I would have to say it has been a mixed bag of reactions.

When Savanna first arrived, Joshua was pretty excited about the train set she gave him at the hospital.  He constantly thanked her for the toys.  He kissed her and hugged her a lot.  He demanded to hold her.  But every time I am nursing her, he asked for milk too, or he has to go pee and I had to tend to him.

Over the next few months, I noticed that Joshua talked a lot more than he used to.  He had a lot more to say, asked for a lot more attention, and asked a lot of questions.  “Where are you going, Mommy?  What are you doing, Mommy?  What is mei-mei doing, Mommy?  Where is mei-mei, Mommy?  Can you play with me, Mommy?  Can you put mei-mei down, Mommy?  What’s the diaper for?  I want some milk.”  He was always very gentle with her, hugged and kissed her all the time.

Once Savanna started to smile, Joshua found new joy in making her laugh.  He made silly faces or noises non-stop if it make Savanna laugh.  In the car, he insisted on holding her hand.  Once I asked him why he had to hold her hand, he told me that because she was scared.  It melted me.

When I nurse Savanna, Joshua started to ask for milk or potty less and less over time.  It did take quite a few months (6 months, maybe?).  Now that Savanna is 9 months old, he only sees me nurse her twice a day, and he generally just plays on his own quietly.

Joshua never used pacifiers; he just didn’t take to them.  I bought some new soothers in preparation for Savanna’s arrival, but she didn’t take to them either.  Even though she didn’t use them, we had some just laying around the place.  All of a sudden Joshua wanted to use them.  I didn’t make a big deal out of it.  I let him suck on soothers whenever he wanted to.  He even fell asleep one day with one in his mouth.  But last week when I packed up all the soothers around the house, he didn’t even notice they were gone.

Now that Savanna is crawling and reaching for toys, a new set of trouble starts.  She would grab whatever toy within her reach, and start chewing on it.  Joshua would sometimes rip toys out of her hand because it’s “his” toy.  If I told him to share, he’d start crying.  No amount of reasoning works to keep the peace.  I tried telling him to give her a different toy before taking something from him, but he just doesn’t seem to slow down enough to bring her a different toy first.

I can see how my brother and I drove my mother crazy enough that she always bought two identical toys for us, so that we wouldn’t fight over them.

Then there are moments that Joshua surprises me.  He’d bring toys to Savanna, line them all up around her, and talk to her about what she can do with each toy.  If Savanna is crying and I couldn’t get to her quick enough, he’d run to her, comfort her, and give her hugs.  Sometimes I can hear Savanna giggling uncontrollably because Joshua is doing something to make her laugh.  She totally adores him.

Joshua drives me crazy on a daily basis.  I apologize to him at least once a day for being impatient or raising my voice at him.  Yet at the same time I am so proud of who he is becoming.  Every afternoon when we go walk the dog, he runs up ahead of me, bouncing all over the place on the side walk, skipping and giggling and waving his arms, like any happy kid would.  Those are the moments I think that this parenting gig is so awesome.

Impatience

I’ve been thinking lately that I’m not quite as patient as I used to be.  When we had just Joshua, sometimes I amazed myself how much patience I had with him.  I tried explaining everything to him, answered all his questions, and rarely got angry with him.

Lately though, it seems that I’ve reverted back to my true self–impatient and easily angered.  Sometimes Joshua bombards me with inconsequential questions, and I just want to put a piece of duct tape over his mouth.  Here’s an example of our conversation in the car this morning:

“Mommy, what are you eating?”  A carrot.

“Mommy, what color is the carrot?”  Purple.

“Mommy, what are you eating?”  A carrot.

“Mommy, is it a vegetable?”  Yes it is.

“Mommy, do you like the carrot?”  Yes.

“Mommy, do you like vegetable?”  Yes, I do.

“Mommy, do you like the purple carrot?”  Yes.

“Mommy, do you like the vegetable carrot?”  Yes.

“Does Daddy like carrot?”  Yes he does.

“Does Daddy like vegetable?”  Sometimes.

“You like your vegetable?”  Yes.

“I don’t want vegetable.”  I’m glad we had that established.

I have a feeling I’m less patient now for a few reasons.  There is one other person I’m constantly taking care of now, who wasn’t here 8 months ago.  My attention is constantly split between Joshua and Savanna, and that drives me a little crazy.  I’m not that good with focusing on more than one thing at a time.  Also, I am probably taking Joshua for granted in general.  When I was on mat leave with him, I treasured every moment I had with him.  Then when I went back to work, the time with him became even more precious.  Now I see him everyday and feel like I always fall short of his demands, and I become irritated.

And you know what irks me?  He doesn’t ask Cliff a gazillion questions.  I have no idea why he only does this with me.
Anyway, this is just another confession post.

How to get some privacy

Joshua isn’t terrified of loud noises, but he doesn’t really enjoy them.  I always warn him before I turn on our blender or my hair dryer so he doesn’t get startled.

I was in the shower tonight when Joshua came barging into the bathroom.

Joshua: Mommy?

Me: Yes?

Joshua: Are you taking a shower?

Me: Yes.

Joshua: Mommy, would you like some privacy? [It kills me that he asks me that after barging in!]

Me: Haha, oh yes I would!

Joshua: blah blah blah blah blah…he goes on to ask me 20 questions about if I could come out and play with him, am I done yet, if he can go pee on the potty, if Savanna is going to take a shower, if he is getting a bath or a shower…

Joshua: Mommy, are you going to dry your hair?

Me: Yes.

Joshua: Is it going to be loud?

Me: The hair dryer?  Yes, a little bit.

Joshua: Bye-bye, Mommy!

I think from now on, every time I go to the bathroom I am going to turn on the hair dryer.  Maybe that’ll buy me some privacy.

 

Girls-only day

The thing about having 2 kids at home is that you don’t get much one-on-one time with either one of them.  When Joshua was a baby, it was just me and him at home, so I had a lot of stare-at-my-baby-because-he-is-so-amazing time.  I don’t have much of that with Savanna, unfortunately.  Even when I am nursing her or changing her diaper, I usually have Joshua hanging off my leg asking me to play with him.  I’m not complaining that Joshua wants me to play with him, because who knows how long that will last.  I just wish sometimes I had some one-on-one time with my little girl.

So I made today a girls-only day.  Cliff took Joshua to music class in the morning and went to visit Cliff’s mom afterwards.  I stayed home with Savanna in the morning for some mother-daughter time, then took her to watch a movie with a friend at SilverCity (the “Stars and Stroller” program with lower volume, change table, and free diapers).

It was so nice to just be with Savanna.  I took a gazillion pictures of her, played with her, napped with her, and watched a movie together.  It almost surprised me to realize how little “focused” time I get to spend with her.  It felt so relaxing and so luxurious to just hang out with my little girl.

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My kids aren’t always monsters

Today was one of those unreal days where everything was easy.  Joshua started the morning with helping himself to the potty before Cliff or I even woke up.  By the time I heard him, he had already taken off his own pants and underwear and peed in the potty.  Savanna slept till 8 am.  Cliff went to work and the rest of us went and played at the park behind us and had a good time.  We bought some dog treats and bird seeds.  We watched an excavator dig up dirt.  We had lunch.  And get this, both kids went down for naps without fussing or crying or potty accidents!  Even I got a short nap in!  The afternoon was calm and peaceful with no temper tantrums or whining.  Joshua had a decent amount of food for dinner.

I know I probably write more about the kids being little monsters than angels.  But the truth is, they aren’t always little monsters out to get me.  It was very easy to feel the joy of being a mom of two today.  I am going to fix today in my mind, so I don’t get all bent out of shape when they act like little monsters.

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